Archive for July, 2011

M4 Learning Log 4 – Where is my digital footprint going?

So I was curious how this course and the various online account and digital assignments have affected my digital footprint.  ZERO.  I searched “Sarah Wilhelm” which resulted in numerous other Sarah’s, but I wasn’t to be found on the first 5 pages.  I searched “Sarah Wilhelm, Hanover” to see if any location helped, but that couldn’t even be found.   After taking this course and reading all the articles on how technology is changing the world and education with it…I’m still okay not being ‘googleable’.  I definitely agree I need to know about the technology my students are using, technology that professionals are using, and how I can mesh the two to create better instruction and a better learning opportunities for my students.  When asked, I want to and will be prepared to share these new skills, but I still believe there is goodness in privacy.  And if you want the social interaction and resources, they’re everywhere out there and you can step out of your safety zone as much as you do or don’t want to.


July 25, 2011 at 3:50 pm 1 comment

M4 Learning Log 3 – Elementary Wikis

I don’t know what grade or subjects I’ll be teaching in future, so I looked up various elementary examples.  I figured these would vary by grade level, content, and computer access.

5th Grade Vocabulary Wiki: 5th graders post where and when in the real world they have seen or heard one of their vocabulary words.  A page exists for each letter to help keep them organized.

Mr. Webb’s 3rd Grade Class: Mr. Webb uses his wiki as a regular website to post HW reminders, grading policies, announcements, various content and activity pages.

Mrs. Anderson’s 3rd Grade Class: Mrs. Anderson uses this as a collaborative site with her students to share their various projects, activities, and digital portfolios.  Each ‘creator’ has a link to their page to see what the student has done during the school year.

Terry the Tennis Ball: A 3rd/4th grade class contributed to writing a story through this wiki.  It begins with the same few sentences, then has multiple endings.  Students had the ability to list the next word/phrase which will lead you to the next part of the story with more options to continue along.

Mrs. Hopkin’s 2nd grade class: Mrs. Hopkins’ class space for students to write stories, share/discuss books, share photos/videos of projects and experiments.

3rd Grade Oregon Trail Project: A collaborative project for students to share what they have learned about the westward expansion, trailing on the Oregon Trail.  Pages link to share information from timelines, supplies, hardships, animals, native americans, weather and more.


While searching for various educational wikis, I can see how they are a beneficial tool, but I also see how they require a lot of time and organization.   Some wikis were really hard to figure out their purpose or where to click to the student work, etc.  Other wikis you could see a lot of time was put into organizing the layout of the site, its purpose, and how to use it.    There were teachers who had pages to describe how to use the wiki, create pages, edit appropriately, etc.    You know they had a real purpose for creating the site and really wanted the students to get value from using it.   The classroom wikis and very much like class blogs to me, they are a create way to open communication, set expectations, and share news and projects with the students, families, and community.  It shows that the teacher wants everyone involved, not just a few students or parents; its a learning environment for everyone.   For projects/activity collaboration, I think it is a great tool for students to learn how to work in groups; a necessity for the real world.  It requires them to determine the rolls within the group, the steps that need to be taken, how to create/organize and display a product that represents them all.  I definitely think it will take a lot of time from teachers to set up, organize, and keep updated, but most of the tools we’ve looked at require that too.   The wikis seem to be a great way to give students a new option for sharing what they’ve learned, not just pencil and paper or for the teacher and a good grade, but for themselves to take pride in the knowledge they’ve created.






July 21, 2011 at 12:53 pm Leave a comment

M4 Learning Log 2 – UDL

I really enjoyed the article by Kirsten Lee Howard, and thought her example of guided reading for all students was a great example of not just UDL, but meshing content areas to given them meaning and purpose.  I like giving the students options, it’s not free range to pick whatever they want, but it’s not restricting their learning either.  Options give student power to take control of their own learning. I haven’t used, seen, or heard of eReader, but I’ve very curious to use it, as well the program to highlight and retrieve definitions.  I think instead of using Dreamweaver, the same result could be made using Word and saving as a pdf file.  I think these tools help make learning less intimidating when students have so much pressure to progress.  I thought her questions to help guide planning and assessment are getting starting points to make us think of the larger picture.  We always talk about how there are different learning styles, UDL gives us a way to truly reach each student no matter how they learn.

July 19, 2011 at 1:42 pm Leave a comment

M4 Learning Log 1 – Turn Your Right Brain On

I thought the article “A Whole New School for a Whole New Mind” was very interesting and motivating.  I’m curious to know if any schools have implemented Pink’s themes into building/restructuring school buildings so they can fit into the Conceptual Age.  I loved the story theme, “the ability to put facts in context and deliver them with emotion.”  In the grande scheme of things, that’s life.  We all have a story to tell, and we continue to build our story day by day, chapter by chapter.   And I loved his vision of the classroom “with the student positioned as author, director, and performer and the teacher as the sideline coach who affirms, challenges, provokes, and references the stories of others.”  This goes back to Bloom’s Taxonomy revision; the students are performing their own learning while teachers just guide them and make them stronger, more exciting story tellers.  I also thought he was spot on with Empathy, “When one learns to stand in someone else’s shoes, feel with that person’s heart, and see with that person’s eyes.”  I think too often, we only look out for ourselves and our own success, but as the world becomes flatter with each new technology, we need to be able to work together to make an impact and difference.  Lastly, I couldn’t agree more with the theme of Play, “laughter, fun, and this type of ‘play’ invariably lead to higher levels of production and personal satisfaction.”  If we love and enjoy what we do, then failure has never been an option; we continue to push ourselves, learn, and improve our story everyday.

July 19, 2011 at 1:01 pm Leave a comment

M3 Learning Log 4 – Exhausted

This module has been a whirl wind of craziness.  We’ve been introduced to so many new tools and programs that my head is spinning.  I see the benefit in a lot of the tools:  Twitter with its quick posts to share PD resources that I’m interested in,  Nings to have a central networking community around my education focus, bookmarking and cataloging to share our interests and resources and have them expanded by others, and the lovely iGoogle to bring it all together in one spot.   But I just feel so rushed, which I know is the time limit, structure, requirements of the class, but I just feel like I’m not getting the opportunity to see the full, realistic potential of these tools.  Which tools really catch the students attention and engage them in the curriculum.  Which tools aren’t worth spending hours on for a 30 minute lesson.  Which tools alleviate or fail my attempt to communicate and collaborate with parents?   I’m very curious to see how they come into play as I continue my coursework to become a teacher, how I implement them when I have my own classroom, and which tools become out dated next week, next month, next year……

July 12, 2011 at 10:38 pm Leave a comment

M3 VoiceThread – Social and Collaborative Media

I created a VoiceThread that covers the following social media tools: Goodreads, Twitter, and Skype.   I explain how these tools are used to increase discussion, which I believe allows students to engage in more critical thinking and develop a better understanding of the various contents discussed.

The tool of VoiceThread itself, promotes and encourages discussion.  The creator is able to take various forms of media, organize in a sequence, and add narration through comments.  This final product can then be shared with others to view and add their own comments using text, audio, and video.

I could see teachers using this tool for homework assignments to have students discuss various topics, or to have students use as a form of project presentation.  Teachers could also create these for unit summaries, which students could then use to review and ask clarify questions prior to assessment.  Voicethreads could also be used for students who are absent for an extended period of time; teachers could take snapshots of various paragraphs, websites, photos, etc. and narrate how it connects to the lessons missed.

VoiceThreads could also be used for Professional Development.  Presenters could create the products taking snapshots of various skills, elements, tools, steps, etc.  that teachers could then comment on with questions on how to use, share experiences, and so on.

July 12, 2011 at 10:24 pm Leave a comment

M3 Learning Log 3 – Goodreads

Describe how you will use the bookshelf and other ways you might use GoodReads in the instructional setting.

I made my goodreads shelf to cover the combined genres biographies-autobiographies.  I would use this shelf and also create additional shelves to cover the other genres I would be discussing with my students.  The books would be suggestions for students to read independently and also books we would be discussing as part of the curriculum.  Within our class group, I could see this being a great platform for students to post their thoughts and opinions on the books; this could be done as homework to get starter ideas going that could be expanded upon in the classroom.   I think it could also be interesting for students to reach out beyond out school walls to see what other students their age are reading and share with our class what they find.

For teachers, I could see us sharing fun, relaxing reads to enjoy during the summer months, as well as doing peer reviews and recommendations for PD books.

Last summer I had created a Shelfari account for my Children’s Lit course, and I keep going back and forth to figure out which site I like best; both have pros and cons.  Shelfari is much more visually pleasing.  I also like how its easy to add my own tags and search by tags.  However you can’t create your own shelves beyond the 3 standard (I’ve read, I’m reading, I plan to read).  I like how Goodreads allows you to create different bookshelves, which is what their tags are linked to.  I wish one of the sites had the combination of creating our own shelves with separate tags.  This would be useful for genres…for my biography shelf I could tag by professions, time period, events, historical figures, current figures, male/female, etc.  I think the group feature on Goodreads may also be better for creating various threads to organize discussions, and I like how it shows currently reading/upcoming.

If I had to choose this very moment I would go with Goodreads to start a classroom group.


July 8, 2011 at 4:05 pm 2 comments

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